Thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home; that wildness is a necessity.John Muir
When we leave the city to drive home to our farm there is a place that we get to, about an hour into our trip, where I always find myself letting out a breath I had not realised I was holding.
It’s a place where the landscape opens out into cane fields and pasture. Behind the green expanse of cane there are low mountains, and in one direction, although I cannot see it, I can feel the press of the ocean, and smell the faint tang of salt on the breeze.
It happens every time.
We reach this place and my body relaxes. I begin to feel better in myself. My mind clears and optimism returns.
It took a long time for me to work out why this feeling comes over me.
This place on the road marks the end of urbanisation. Behind me is the endless sprawl of suburbia and cities. Ahead of me is farmlands, rural communities and wilderness.
It’s a tonic that restores my soul.
And now it seems that science is backing me up. Researchers at Exeter University have found that people who are shown pictures of rural landscapes trigger an area of their brain associated with being in a calm, meditative state (even if these people had been urban dwellers all their lives). Conversely, when people were shown images of cities, a part of their brain responsible for visual complexity kicked in and began working hard to decipher the surroundings.
It made me think about how exhausted our poor brains must get, constantly working to process our surroundings when we are in an urban environment.
Solution? Get some time in nature, and let nature work its healing magic on you.
Much love, Nicole xx